|Publication number||US6901701 B2|
|Application number||US 10/457,980|
|Publication date||Jun 7, 2005|
|Filing date||Jun 9, 2003|
|Priority date||Jun 9, 2003|
|Also published as||US20040244291|
|Publication number||10457980, 457980, US 6901701 B2, US 6901701B2, US-B2-6901701, US6901701 B2, US6901701B2|
|Original Assignee||Han-Sen Lee|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (9), Referenced by (23), Classifications (5), Legal Events (5)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present invention relates to an improvement in providing window covering shutter which are designed to be constructed from materials to give a more finished appearance with more balance in the shutter, including the ability to specify louver and side panel shutter door widths but without the loss of the professional look and without mistake, and expensive scrappage.
Shutters which fold over window and door openings have been in use and have varying degrees of custom fit. In a typical window installation a poor quality of installation might include spacers which actually move the pivot point for the shutters and shutter sets toward the center of the assembly. This represents the worst solution to make up for a shutter set which is forced to fit a larger window.
In other more sophisticated assemblies the user can add decorative spacers to the shutter doors at either of their vertical sides with the whole shutter pivoting with respect to a window opening. Where the components for the typical unsophisticated user are provided in a pre-finished state, the unsophisticated user has an opportunity to “build out” by shims, shutter doors. The “build out” can be accomplished to keep a decorative horizontal balance in the shutter set.
Given the generally prominent vertical side rails which form the main structural components of the shutter doors, unsophisticated users have had little choice in determining the vertical height of individual shutter doors. Some vertical customizability can be had by specifying the border thickness of a support frame. However, this still restricts the opening the same as vertical blocks added to extend the pivot point of the shutters.
Although unsophisticated end users have been only partially empowered to perform good customization of self installed shutter sets using finished components, the goal of using finished components still holds a great deal of value for persons in the chain of sales and service from professional installers to manufacturers and assemblers. One of the main objectives is to enable as much cutting and painting to remain at the base manufacturing site. In other words, the key is to limit cutting to the original raw materials cutting which occurs at the factory using precision machines, and to limit painting to the professional, automated painting which occurs at the factory.
Looking at it from this viewpoint, most user constructable or modifiable shutter assemblies are configured to provide some activity on the part of the user or installer other than cutting and painting in order to provide matching with the ultimate user's window size. Further, because the user matching activities have been traditionally limited, the user's ability to affect the physical outcome of the shutter installation has also been limited. Much of the variation has been focussed upon obtaining a window opening fit, and thus the non-variable portion has centered upon the size of the louvers, and the area and shape of the louver space.
What is therefore needed is a further, deeper method of modularization which makes use of pre-cut and pre-painted components which can be user specified to not only match a given window opening, but which can be user specified to match more subtle user preferences.
A pre-cut, pre-painted shutter door includes a pair of vertical members available in a range of discrete or quantum heights, and having a two level slot along their length for engaging an upper and a lower panel to form the outer portions of a shutter door. Vertical members are preferably pre-tapped with bores to facilitate threaded member access to engagement for attachment to the upper and lower panels. The upper and lower panels have a curved surface to either facilitate direct manual pivoting of the louvers or to provide clearance for an optional common actuator bar. A louver pivot support fits within the two level slot of the vertical members and carries a series of pre-drilled holes for pivotally supporting the louvers. Both the vertical members, panels and louver member supports are of constant cross section to facilitate the use of finger joints and to promote continuous extrusion-type processing. A series of louvers have shafts which extend through pre-drilled holes in the louver pivot supports. Louver shafts may carry gears engaging a gears fittable within a clearance between the louver pivot supports and the more inner level of the two level slot to accommodate a gear rack engaging the gears of the louver shafts to provide simultaneous movement of the louvers with linear translation of the gear rack.
The invention, its configuration, construction, and operation will be best further described in the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:
The description and operation of the shutter system of the invention will be best described with reference to
The shutter door 11 has an upper panel 21 and a lower panel 23 which have side edges which connect to the first and second vertical members 15 and 17. Both the upper and lower panels 21 and 23 have a curved surface 25, which is seen only in the upper panel 21 of FIG. 1. The curved surface 25 of the lower panel 23 faces in the opposite direction.
Between the upper panel 21 and the lower panel 23, a series of louvers 31 are ultimately pivotally supported by the first and second vertical members 15 and 17. A common actuator bar 33 is connected to each of the louvers 31 by any number of types of pivoting connection assemblies including staple and eyelet, and eyelet to eyelet (not seen in FIGS. 1). These connections typically have a relationship between their size and orientation versus the degree to which the louvers 31 are enabled to pivot. Other factors include the thickness of the louvers and how they are oriented to interfit.
Conventional shutter doors typically have a small notch at the bottom edge of an upper panel to accommodate the upper end of the common actuator bar 33. This type of configuration usually requires a fixed system where the number and thickness and path of travel of the louvers 31 are known, where the pivotal attachment assemblies and their operation are known, and where the common actuator bar attachment and excess length is known. Further, the size and depth of the notch have to meet the size and depth travel of the common actuator bar in order to achieve a good fit.
Further note that typical louver orientation on shutter doors, including shutter door 11 are such that complete light blocking closure is had for movement of the common actuator bar 33 and louvers 31 in one direction such as the upward direction. The lower direction will typically not enable full closure and this position is typically used to direct light for light effect in a room. The curved surface 25 helps to accommodate the connection assembly between the common actuator bar 33 and the louvers 31, and provides a handy, easy to clean space for manual actuation of the louver 31 closest to one of the upper or lower panels 21 and 23.
The use of the curved surface 25 enables an aesthetically pleasing shape which accomplishes a number of objectives. By eliminating a point indentation along an otherwise constant cross sectional area member, one also eliminates the need to create an indentation, but more importantly the need to insure that it is centered with respect to the ultimate length of the upper panel 21 for the given configuration of shutter door 11 to be formed.
Further, the provision of a curved surface rather than a right angled internal surface facilitates cleaning. All of the surfaces of the elements including vertical members 15 and 17, knob 19, upper and lower panels 21 and 23 with their curved surfaces 25 and even the rounded series of louvers 31 are significantly rounded. There are no sharply angled corners within which dust may collect. A soft damp cloth could be used to completely wipe all the surfaces of the shutter door 11. There are not even corners of ninety degrees which would limit the ability to clean the shutter door 11.
Further, the simplification of the components of the shutter door system 11 also enables the use of finger joint techniques to construct lengths of the simplified components from shorter material lengths. Finger joint techniques can be advantageously employed to produce long continuous lengths of material without the ability to detect the existence or location of the finger joints in the finished material. Professional finishing, sanding and painting techniques at the manufacturing facility helps to insure a product with a smooth look.
With regard to the shutter door 11 seen in
Because the common actuator bar 33 extends to or above the upper extent of the curved surface 25 and does not lock into it, variation of the louvers 31 can be had with little or no effort. A larger number of much narrow louvers 31 could be substituted, as well as a lesser number of wider louvers 31. As will be seen the pivoting accommodation of the louvers 31 combined with the ability to select upper and lower panels 21 and 23 will ultimately give the user complete vertical specifiability of the louver door 11. Selection of the length of the upper and lower panels 21 and 23, louvers 31 and widths of the first and second vertical members 15 and 17 will enable a user to have complete control of the overall horizontal and vertical configuration of the shutter door 11.
It can be argued that any configuration for any shutter can be had by sizing, cutting, and then painting conventional structures, but this is not the case. The purpose for the components and structures of
The plain frame 13 can be chosen to have a width which may be available in quantum lengths to enable it to vary slightly, or by a quantum amount, with respect toany inexactitude with respect to the size of a window opening after the overall measurements are specified. These overall measurements respresent sums into which the individual measurements within which the first and second vertical members 15 and 17, upper and lower panels 21 and 23, and series of louvers 31 should fit.
The two level slot 41 serves double duty as a deep slot having a base 43 with side walls 45 and 47, and a wider shallow slot having abbreviated depth side walls 49 and 51 and adjacent bottom walls 53 and 55 which are immediately adjacent the side walls 45 and 47. The two level slot 41 could have been configured as a pair of different depth, non-symmetrical side by side slots or any other configuration which enables control of engagement tension, or creation of an accommodation space or general selection and control of the depth of engagement into the two level slot 41.
To the right of these structures an upper panel 21 has a flat end 57 and an optional tongue end 59. The optional tongue end 59 illustrates the use of a deep tongue structure which can extend somewhat deeply toward base 43. Conversely the flat end 59 can extend to the outer level and engage the adjacent bottom walls 53 and 55 adjacent the abbreviated depth side walls 49 and 51. Where bolts or screws are inserted into pre-tapped holes in the first vertical member 15 to engage the upper panel 21 or lower panel 23, spacers or force engagement members can be used to give good support and to save the slot 41 from opening or splitting.
Seen for the first time is a louver pivot support 61 having an overall “T” cross sectional shape and which fits into the slot 41. The “T” cross sectional shape has a base portion 63 which extends predominantly toward the base 43 of the two level slot 41 and a pair of side extensions 65 and 67 which form the “arms” of the “T” shape and which fit into the adjacent bottom walls 53 and 55 of the abbreviated depth side walls 49 and 51. A top surface 69 of the louver pivot support 61 contains a series of bores 71 which pivotally support the supports for the louvers 31.
By interfitting the louver pivot support 61 into the two level slot 41, the two level slot 41 is covered flush and it appears as if the inside or louver 31 directed surface of the first vertical member 15 is smooth and flush. The louver pivot support 61 is shown with flat ends to emphasize its structures and to emphasize that it need not be shape conforming to the bottom of the upper panel 21 and its curved surface 25. In the configuration shown, a tapering gap within the two level slot 41 between the top of the louver pivot support 61 and the curved surface 25 will exist. Alternatives include the shaping of the upper end of the louver pivot support 61 to complement and mate against the curved surface 25, or to make a square nick at the lower corner of the upper panel 21, the latter of which is not preferred. Since the upper versus lower extend of the louver pivot support 61 will meet “S” complementary curved surfaces 25, the ends of the louver pivot support 61 could be pre shaped to eliminate the gap.
Also seen in
As stated earlier, the “superimposed” two level slot 41 is but one configuration of slot, and the gear rack 81 is but one configuration of a gear rack. Where a pair of connected slots having a deep surface adjacent a shallow surface is used, the gear rack might be completely linear and place on one of the sides of the deeper slot, for example.
In the configuration of
This means that the end clearances for the rack 81 will need to be no more than about 8.0 millimeters. Further, the rack 81 can be fitted with slots to enable threaded members to extend through the vertical member 15 and engage the louver pivot support 61 at various points without interfering with the function of the rack 81. Where the louvers 31 are so attached to the shaft 77 that rotation of the louver 31 will not occur without the rotation of the louver 31, the louvers 31 and the rack 81 can be oriented together upon placement within slot 41 to eliminate the need for common actuator bar 33. In this case, a user would simply manipulate one louver 31 to turn all of the louvers 31 commonly adjacently connected. This would provide for a much greater aesthetic finish and eliminate a loosely operating member.
A thin washer 89 is seen as occupying the space between the top surface 69 of the louver pivot support 61 and the outside surface 91 of the louver 31. This will eliminate a straight material to material rubbing and will achieve better mechanical fit and motion. Note that the surface 69 might extend slightly beneath the extent of the abbreviated depth side walls 49 and 51 and that the thickness of the thin washer 89 can be used to make a close clearance between the outside surface 91 and the closest approach of the first vertical member in the direction of the outside surface 91.
Also seen is an insertion portion 93 of the shaft 77 which enters the louver 31 at a bore 95. The engagement of the insertion portion 93 and the bore 95 can be via gluing, threaded engagement, key and matching bore insertion and more. Also seen at a bottom breakaway portion is the insertion of a threaded member, such as a threaded member 97 through a bore 99 and into a solid portion of the louver pivot support 61. In this manner the louver pivot support can be locked tightly into the two level slot 41.
The series of bores 71 have been seen to work well with standard center to center spacings of two inches for louvers 31 having a width of slightly more than two inches to standard center to center spacings of three inches for louvers 31 having a width of slightly more than three inches. The slightly greater width is utilized to insure that there is sufficient overlap for light blockage and for limiting the effective angular range of turn for each louver 31 so that edge matching is not necessary.
First vertical member 15 may have an optional notch 101 when it is used to form one of two overlapping shutter doors 11. Notch 101 has a dimension “G” of about nine sixteenths of an inch, and a dimension “H” of about one quarter of an inch.
A typical louver 31 may vary in size but the preferred thickness is about three eighths of an inch. An end curvature protrusion from the end of the planar extent of the louver 31 of about one eighth of an inch is typical for the louver edge curvature extension. Two widths of louver 31 which have proven advantageous includes a first width of about three and three eighths inches and a second width of about two and three eighth inches.
Because the structure of
Within the range of choices for the vertical combinations for the upper and lower panels 21 and 23 in combination with the stack of pivotally mounted louvers 31, the user can select the upper and lower panels 21 and 23 which approach evenness or which may have one much vertically larger than the other. Another combination the user can select is the use of more louvers 31 and lesser vertical height combined upper and lower panels 21 and 23 or a lesser number of louvers 31 and greater vertical height combined upper and lower panels 21 and 23. The play off between the heights of the upper and lower panels 21 and 23 and louvers 31 can also include selection of different sized louvers 31.
For a given desired vertical louver opening space the user can select a larger number of smaller louvers 31 or a lesser number of larger louvers 31, especially the width of the louvers 31. All of these variations can be specified by specifying the construction of pre-cut, pre-painted components. In other words the shutter door 11 assembly can be constructed with finished components.
Again, because the structure of
The only other horizontal quantum combinations to be considered would possibly be different width first and second vertical members 15 and 17 or possibly the existence of notch 101 to form an overlap where two shutter doors 11 close. The only other consideration, not aesthetic, would be selection of the first and second vertical members 15 and 17 which are wide enough to insure structural integrity of the resulting shutter door 11 to hold its own weight and more. The horizontal width of the louver 31 opening will depend upon the combined widths of the first and second vertical members 15 and 17.
Within the range of choices for the horizontal combinations for the the upper and lower panels 21 and 23 the louver opening area can only be narrowed. Again, however the user can select the first and second vertical members 15 and 17 of different width for a different effect, although it is typical to choose first and second vertical members 15 and 17 for symmetry.
Again, because the structure of
Again, all of the components for construction of the shutter door 11 are specified by specifying the construction of pre-cut, pre-painted components for both the vertical and horizontal sizes, and preferably those sizes differ by only a quantum amount so that the completed structure will differ with respect to a window opening by no more than that quantum difference amount. Any mismatch with the window opening can be made up by shimming the frame 13 with regard to a window opening.
Once the window opening is known, the next quantum size less of frame 13 is specified to give a known opening for the shutters. Once gross possibilities such as number of shutter doors to fit within the frame are selected, the user will probably be left with a number of design possibilities probably marshaled in accord with louver area size. Once the user selects the configuration, typically with computer assistance to rapidly select and illustrate the possibilities, the user's order will be filled by construction of louver doors from component bins which are already pre-cut and pre-painted.
Technicians select the first and second vertical members 15 and 17, upper and lower panels 21 and 23, series of louvers 31 (with or without gears 85 and gear rack 81), and louver pivot supports 61. Threaded members 97 are selected, possibly based upon the size of the first and second vertical members 15 and 17 and upper and lower panels 21 and 23, and the louver door 11 is assembled. The assembled door looks complete, flawless and brand new. The last step is the assembly of the frame 13 (which may also be available in bins according to exacting sizes and which may be assembled using threaded members) and the attachment of the shutter doors 11 into pivoting attachment relationship with the frame 13.
While the present invention has been described in terms of a system for enabling custom specification of a shutter set by providing minimal components and either accommodation of a common actuator bar 33 or elimination of an actuator bar 33 altogether to provide common internally linked louver movement, one skilled in the art will realize that the structure and techniques of the present invention can be applied to many structures, including any structure where construction methodology is facilitated by preconstruction sizing and finishing.
Although the invention has been derived with reference to particular illustrative embodiments thereof, many changes and modifications of the invention may become apparent to those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Therefore, included within the patent warranted hereon are all such changes and modifications as may reasonably and properly be included within the scope of this contribution to the art.
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|US20140352218 *||May 31, 2013||Dec 4, 2014||Houston Shutters, LLC||Joints for Shutter Frames and Methods for Forming Same|
|USD667136 *||Dec 27, 2011||Sep 11, 2012||American Builders & Contractors Supply Co., Inc.||Bahama awning hurricane shutter|
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|U.S. Classification||49/82.1, 49/74.1|
|Jun 17, 2008||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Jul 31, 2012||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8
|Jan 13, 2017||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|
|Jun 7, 2017||LAPS||Lapse for failure to pay maintenance fees|
|Jul 25, 2017||FP||Expired due to failure to pay maintenance fee|
Effective date: 20170607